Airbnb sued San Francisco on Monday, saying that a recent ordinance that requires hosts to register with the city violates the home-sharing company’s free speech rights.
A law due due to come into effect next month requires companies like Airbnb to verify that rentals have a valid registration number issued by the city. The rule would impose on the company fines of up to $1,000 per day for each offence.
Airbnb’s lawsuit states the ordinance violates federal communications laws, and asks a judge to block it. In a blog post, the firm said the law cannot fix San Francisco’s housing crunch.
“This legislation ignores the reality that the system is not working and this new approach will harm thousands of everyday San Francisco residents who depend on Airbnb”, said the company.
Spokesman for San Francisco’s city attorney’s office, matt Dorsey, said nothing in the ordinance punishes the company for their hosts’ content, and that the ordinance is supposed to facilitate tax collection.
“In fact, it’s not regulating user content at all – it’s regulating the business activity of the hosting platform itself”, Dorsey said in an email.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.